Local Artist Looking For a Break in the Cartoon World [Updated]

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Anthony Aroya

Anthony Aroya, a lifelong Bronxite who grew up on Prospect Avenue and now lives in Norwood, is a man of many talents and interests.

He's written a series of children's books, a handful of screenplays and a couple of plays (one of which was performed as part of the Strawberry One-Act Festival, off-Broadway, which another local artist participated in recently).

For the past three years, the deep baritone-voiced Aroya – he sounds like a late-night R&B deejay or a Barry White impersonator – worked as a voice-over actor on a few commercial and several video games. His persona in 2009's “House of the Dead: Overkill”, Det. Isaac Washington, was nominated for best newly created video game character. (Interesting side note: “Overkill” set a Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition record for being “the most profane video game in history,” dropping an astounding 189 incarnations of the f-bomb.)

Now Aroya, who works at Montefiore Medical Center as his day job, is looking to break into the world of cartooning. So, he created “Spike and Mike Take Over the Universe One Molecule at a Time,” which he illustrated and wrote (he's also the voice of Mike).

Looking for some help getting his project off the ground, Aroya uploaded a pilot-version of “Spike and Mike” onto Kickstarter, an online funding platform for creative projects. The idea is that artists upload to Kickstarter with a fund-raising goal (for “Spike and Mike” it's $10,000) and deadline. Then people can check out the projects and decided whether or not to help fund it.

If the artist achieves his or her goal by the deadline, then they get the money for the project. If it doesn't achieve it's goal, all the contributions get returned. So, either funders get to see a finished product or they get their money back.

Aroya's cartoon project: “Spike and Mike”

Aroya says he came up with the idea for “Spike and Mike” when thinking about the diversity of his northwest Bronx neighborhood and the notion of seeking common ground among people of such divergent backgrounds. Spike (who's white) and Mike (who's black) are both sperm looking to impregnate the same egg, but they talk about all sorts of issues and crack insightful jokes along the way. In the Kickstarter episode, they debate about who should be the one to impregnate the egg.

It's comedy with a message, Aroya says. “I feel like you can get a lot more done with humor.” Aroya says the cartoon is adult in its content, “but it's nothing off-putting, once you get past the fact that it's talking sperm.”

So far, Aroya's raised just $55 with a little more than two weeks remaining before his deadline.

If you're interested, here's the link again to Arroyo's “Spike and Mike” project.